If on a regular day, an everyday foreign correspondent asks an Iranian official as to exactly what Iran's problem, fundamental difference and root disagreement is with the United States what is the answer he is going to hear? What is the real answer to the
question that what is it that really stands between the United States and Iran?
We Iranians always come up with a long list of American atrocities committed against us and name numerous inhumanities, lies and betrayals to prove the US animosity toward us, and ofcourse some of these complaints are quite true. However, what we readily forget is the fact that our behaviour during the past 28 years has also not been entirely angelic. In fact, many of the issues and actions that we mention as proof of American animosity and enmity toward us were brought about as mere reactions towards our own policies, behavior and positions.
When we ourselves consider a country or certain power as a sworn enemy and behave toward them like enemies then how can we expect friendship and understanding in return. Therefore ,we must return to the first question. ie. From the very beginning, what was the issue between Iran and the United States of America? For in the last two decades, we have somehow managed to get along and settle outstanding issues with all races and creeds from rightists to leftists, believers to non-believers. Communists to the Godly, Sunnis to Shiites.
What is this problem with America that we have been unable to settle as we did with so many others? To answer this question we usually begin to look deep in the chronicles of history and turn to Iran and America’s long and voluminous files. The fundamental problem goes back to the long list of America's unfair and unfriendly behaviour toward us that began many years prior to the Islamic Revolution: A behaviour that like an enigma wrapped in historical delusions and illusions has created a warped version of reality ever harder to comprehend, digest and unravel.
A lot of what we now consider historical certainties and facts are far from reality itself. Untruths and semi-truths that the long passage of time has left in our imaginations and written on our minds.
The incessant repeat of these issues and non-issues during the last 28 years has caused many of us to reach this conclusion and belief that in the real world it has really been so and that the Americans have in actuality committed all of these atrocities against our nation although reality has been quite different. We completely dismiss all of the Shah’s plans and programs and attribute them to bad intent and American animosity.
Additionally,we have continuously refused to accept this fine point that many of the Shah's decisions were solely his and in actuality had nothing to do with the Americans. Also the fact that immediately after the revolution some individuals under the tag of liberals and liberalism were attempting to take the helm of the revolution had nothing to do with America. They were neither brought here by America, nor were they an American creation nor had any obedience to America's wishes or commands. Albeit that the revolutionary students finally discovered documents that tagged them as spies who collaborated with the Americans.
Experiencing these thoughts by no means is to portray America as an innocent by stander angelically going about her business of service and good will toward us. American policy in Iran whether now or in the past has been nothing but the dogged and never ending pursuit of her national and commercial interests. Just as any other sovereign nation, including that of our own, will preserve their interests in foreign policy. What is true however is the fact that not all answers have been found when it comes to restoring relations between our two nations.
If we assume that for example the Islamic Revolution is an inherently and fundamentally contradictory position with the west and the western camp, then the same hindering issues must have existed with the European countries, Canada, Australia and Japan.
If we assume that our core issue with the United States is the contradiction that exists between the world of revolutionary Islam and non-believers, then we should have had problems with China, North Korea, Cuba and tens of other countries in the would that would have preceded those that exist with America.
But the fact is that our difference with America is more that ideological and stems not from America’s behavior toward us during the past decades, the root causes lie within Iran's internal political atmosphere and tensions during the early years of the revolution.
The Moslem students that supported the revolution and who insisted on not falling behind the Marxists from the anti-America bandwagon, who felt that the behavior of the liberal government had empowered the Marxist camp's propaganda apparatus and also felt that the United States and her sympathizers still had not been completely marginalized in the country, came to the conclusion that the occupation of the American Embassy was a prudent political gambit. From their point of view the least that could come out of these actions was to place the Americans and their supporters on the defensive. In addition, the occupation of the American Embassy if successful, would go far in proving the Islamic Revolutions' anti-Americanism and political independence and nobility.